As I still like them, I might develop a couple into ficlets, despite the lack of encouragement.
This is the first, which I have played with as a writing exercise, which is why it's unbetad. I thought I'd better post it in case we all get sucked into a black hole tomorrow.
Title: Open Wide
Warnings: None. A little bleak maybe.
Summary: Spike returns
The gaping maw is big enough to swallow the horizon. One large gulp would end everything.
There are times when Spike thinks maybe it should.
The crater, a vast bite scooped out by a town sucked down into the earth, has a trembling lip. Spike stands on the precarious edge, the road into town disappearing abruptly into the hole falling away beneath his toes. Below him the mouth of hell opens to the heavens in a silent scream.
Three words are eating away at him; each one tastes empty. These wounds are still wide open. Exposed. Even now.
He squints out across the crater’s bowl, ignoring the edge crumbling under his dusty boots. The small stones skitter down the rocky slope into the Hellmouth’s choking throat, rolling past scrubby bushes of little attractiveness that still cling to the scree in an existence somewhere between dead or alive. The crater itself is drowning with seawater; a deep, still lagoon slowly forming from a breach in the thin strip of land that cuts the hole off from the sea. There the derelict shells of the few houses that survived the disaster wait in a defiant line for their demolition. They won’t have to wait long.
The lake shimmers serenely under the stars. Its calm mirror rippled by the lick of the gentle breeze. He died here once. So many did. He might die here again.
His heart certainly has.
Behind him, here and there, a few memorials are pinned to the chain link fence erected to keep out the curious. Tied together with faded ribbons, sprays of dead flowers, now brittle to the touch after drying in the hot air, hang in solemn bunches beside yellowed pages that flutter in the breathy wind; personal messages from the living to the dead whispered in written not spoken words. But these letters are quickly bleaching of ink; their heartfelt declarations of love and grief are leeched of colour, soon to fade away forever as the harsh California sun consumes them.
Spike doesn’t need to read them to know there’ll be nothing left for him amongst the waxy stones that are all that remain of the vigil candles, but he doesn’t care that much. The names on them mean nothing without the faces to make them live. His legacy is not in words or mourning bouquets, but in the world he saved.
And, of course, the girl he let live in the sunlight.